In collaboration with the Women's Prize for Fiction, sponsor Baileys is re-releasing free e-books of classic works using the real names of female writers who originally published under male pseudonyms.
The Reclaim Her Name series, marking the Women's Prize 25th anniversary, includes Middlemarch by Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) and A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee).
It will see 25 novels re-released and available for free, “championing female writers throughout the ages who faced many obstacles, not least sexism and prejudice”. The collection aims to encourage conversations around the continuing challenges women face in publishing and authors' many reasons for using a pseudonym.
Liz Petry, daughter of Anne Petry, whose book Marie of the Cabin Club has been featured in the collection, commented; “When I was asked if my mother’s work could be included within such a worthy collection of books along with other impressive female writers, I was honoured. I’m incredibly proud of my mother’s work and it excites me that her writing has been introduced to a new audience through this collection. I know she would be thrilled to be a part of this as it’s an incredible conversation starter for such an important cause — my mother always believed in a world with shared humanity and I think this project encapsulates that.”
All works in the series have received a modern cover design update from aselection of female illustrators from all over the world, including Brazil, Russia, Jordan and Germany.
Each book was selected by a dedicated team commissioned by Baileys, who spent months searching archives, online and university library resources to identify women recorded to have written under male pseudonyms, dating back from the 19th Century.
Women’s Prize for Fiction founder director Kate Mosse said:“Baileys has been a sponsor of the Women’s Prize for Fiction for many years now and together we have been dedicated to honouring, celebrating and championing women's writing. Together, we’re incredibly excited by the Reclaim Her Name campaign – it’s a lovely way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the prize, by doing what we always strive to do – empowering women, igniting conversations and ensuring that they get the recognition they deserve”.
Adrienne Gammie, category marketing director for Gins, Pimm’s & Baileys, said: “The Women’s Prize for Fiction champions the power of female voices, something we care deeply about at Diageo. Through Reclaim Her Name we are excited for Baileys to extend this celebration of literary achievement to authors who concealed their gender on their work – shining a spotlight on these incredible female storytellers.”
The limited edition series of books will be available to download in e-book format online.